Poinsettia Stamp Now Available

[From guest contributor Carol]

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp is available now! This morning, the stamp will be released officially at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City.

The stamp art is so realistic that you can almost feel the texture of the leaves. There is a good reason for that—artist William Low used a live plant as his model. Low started with a lush, full poinsettia bought at its peak growth. He placed it in the perfect location in his studio to allow the light to accentuate the plant’s vivid color.

When he began by working from the live model, he took several photographs so that he would have a reference point for when the plant was past its prime. This was especially helpful with the flowers, which are not, as many people believe, the bright red leaves—called bracts—but rather the small, modest cup-shaped structures in the center.

For the Poinsettia stamp, Low used a pressure sensitive screen on which he “painted” his brushstrokes using a stylus, adding dabs of color and weaving layers of texture into the digital painting as he filled in the details. (If you’d like to learn more about Low’s artistic process, check out this fascinating video on his website.)

While painting a perfectly detailed poinsettia might be extremely difficult, you can still make your own poinsettia art. Design poinsettia place cards for your holiday parties or learn how to make felt poinsettias for decorations. If you are adept with a sewing machine, make beautiful embroidered organza poinsettias to embellish packages, candlesticks, wreaths. Kids love crafts, too, so help them make poinsettia ornaments for the tree, create beautiful paper poinsettias, or paint poinsettias using their own hand prints!

Don’t forget that the beautiful Poinsettia stamps will brighten and decorate all your cards and letters this holiday season. Buy the stamps at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Celebrate the Holidays with New Stamps

It’s only October, but the holidays are right around the corner. The Postal Service has an exciting lineup of holiday stamps that will be available soon. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the things we have in store.

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp will be released this Thursday, October 10, at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City. The vibrant issuance depicts the rich red and deep green leaves surrounding the flower.

poinsettiaOn Friday, October 11, two more holiday stamps will be released at the ASDA stamp show. One is the Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Forever® stamp, which features Gossaert’s 1531 painting Virgin and Child.
VirginandChildStampThe other is the Holy Family Forever® stamp, which features an illustration showing Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.
Holy FamilyThe Global Forever®: Evergreen Wreath stamp will be released on October 24. This international rate stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International® 1-ounce letter to any country in the world.
EvergreenWreath-Forever-Single-BGv1And that’s not all. New issuances slated to be released later this fall include new Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Forever® stamps, in addition to the awesome new Gingerbread Houses Forever® stamps. Check back soon for more details! GingerbreadHousesmaller

Holiday Evergreens Last Forever® (Plus A Giveaway!)

Although they may no longer be in Post Offices, you can still buy the Holiday Evergreens stamps from The Postal Store as part of the Holiday Evergreen Digital Color Postmark Keepsake set. Click the image for more info.

Although they may no longer be in Post Offices, you can still buy the Holiday Evergreens stamps from The Postal Store as part of the Holiday Evergreen Digital Color Postmark Keepsake set. Click the image for more info.

In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service joined in the winter celebrations by issuing beautiful new Holiday Evergreens Forever® stamps.

The stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate, feature close-up views of the foliage and cones of four different conifers: ponderosa pine, eastern red cedar, blue spruce, and balsam fir.

The artist, the late Ned Seidler, was a gifted painter of nature subjects. When painting flora, he frequently used cuttings from plants and trees in his own yard as reference. He may have taken the same approach in working on this project.

Today we are giving away our last three sets of Holiday Evergreens notecards. To enter all you have to do is send your name and address to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Winners will be chosen at random. The deadline for entries is midnight EST, Friday, December 14. Good luck!

100th Anniversary of Letters to Santa: Be An Elf This Holiday Season

letters-to-santaThe U.S. Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. Its involvement was made official in 1912, when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters.

Over the past 60 years, the program has taken on a life of its own. Today, cities around the country work with recognized charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses, and postal employees to make a difference in the lives of children from coast to coast.

Hundreds of thousands of children of all ages send letters to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska” every year. Unless these letters contain a complete Alaska address, the letters remain in the area they were mailed. Postal “elves” go through the letters and separate those that wish Santa a happy birthday from those that express serious need.

The Postal Service has Letters to Santa programs in operation around the country that vary as much as the locations themselves. Some cities and towns work with local schools to write letters back to the children as if they were Santa; some work with established groups and assist with the collection of gifts; and others invite the public to adopt Santa letters.

This holiday season, you too can be an elf and help Santa Claus visit children who might not otherwise have any gifts to open at Christmas by joining Operation Santa. For more information and to find a participating Post Office near you, visit http://www.operationlettertosanta.com/.

New York City’s Operation Santa program is the largest in the country, receiving more than a half-million letters a season. Every year the iconic James A. Farley Building on 8th Avenue is visited by tens of thousands of people who come in person to adopt letters. In New York City, the program has changed very little since the 1940s and continues to thrive much to the delight of both the readers and writers of letters to Santa.

Letters to Santa Program Marks 100 Years Tomorrow!

The Postal Service’s Letters to Santa program, which makes holiday dreams come true for children in need, marks it’s 100th anniversary this year. To celebrate, the time-honored tradition will kick off at the largest Letters to Santa location in the country: the famous James A. Farley Post Office in New York City.

The celebration begins at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 4. Come help Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, USPS Chief Elf Pete Fontana, and the students of PS-33 get this year’s Letters to Santa program off to a flying start. The Post Office is located at 481 Eighth Avenue; use the front entrance on Eighth Avenue at 33rd Street.

Each #6¾ envelope in this set of four carries an affixed Santa and Sleigh (Forever®) stamp and an official First Day of Issue color postmark. Click for more info.

Each #6¾ envelope in this set of four carries an affixed Santa and Sleigh (Forever®) stamp and an official First Day of Issue color postmark. Click for more info.

Letters to Santa is a letter adoption program enabling members of the public and charitable organizations to respond to children’s letters addressed to Santa Claus.

Operation Santa takes place nationwide at select Post Offices around the U.S. In New York, the program opens to the public on Dec. 5. Potential Saint Nicks can adopt letters 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Thursdays until 7 p.m. Customers will be asked to provide valid identification and sign official Operation Santa organization or individual participation forms before being allowed to select letters for adoption.

Won’t you help a family in need this year?